In last week’s installment of Guate-Hollah! we were at the black sand beaches of Monterrico. This week, on the way to Chichicastenanga, I bring you Panajachel, on the shores of Lake Atitlan.
I was skeptical of Panajachel at first as it has long been a hippie hangout – and man are hippies annoying! – but I was quickly won over. I mean, come on – look at that Lake! It’s actually a huge caldera formed millions of years ago and is now surrounded by three active volcanos. The lake has a bunch of villages on its shores but there are no roads connecting them so everyone has to take boats to get anywhere. The Mayan religion is also really active in this area and there are a lot of ruins to check out. and you know me – any chance to play Indiana Jonesette, I’m game!
If you ignore the hippies and the smell of patchouli, Panajchel is amazing… there are three different indigenous markets and a ton of cobblestoned streets to wander down. But you have got to go eat (and stay at) the Hotel Posada de Don Rodrigo. Located on a cliff above the lake, the Hotel Don Rodrigo has lawns to relax on, a crazy swimming pool with flumes (!) and a restaurant that makes homemade sausage and the yummiest Chile Relleno I’ve ever had.
The only issue with Panajachel (and it’s actually an issue with Guatemala in general) is the Pan American highway, which is crammed full of chicken buses (with names like Juanita, Sally and Esmerelda) and drivers who may or may not be a. drunk, b. blind. c. have inner ear balance issues, d. suffer from insanity or e. all of the above. I was popping Dramamine like Pez and found religion real quick on those drives.